Magnetic hourglass


Originally published at:


Do you see that? That’s how long you’ve got to be alive–and it isn’t long, my pretty!


This might be fun to play with.


We used to call these executive toys.


A warning to the impractical: As I found out the hard way, you don’t want to apply some strong third party magnet to the outside of this thing.
I did this and the thing adhered to the filings so strongly it broke a hole in the hourglass as it was being removed.


So I shouldn’t take it near an MRI?


Near is a relative term.
Just far enough and maybe the iron filings will do interesting things.


yes, but without doing this the entire thing is a total letdown.

i was so unimpressed by this thing that I did not give it to my brother-in-law for christmas nor did i keep it for myself. i white-elephanted it and the guy that got it at the office started adding 3rd magnets to it cuz it was such an awful thing.


That was when executives had offices that could store such crap. Now it’s a tossup whether anyone sub-CEO has an office rather than just hanging out in the open office like a peon programmer/engineer.


I got one of these in one of my VSauce Curiosity boxes. And yeah, it’s only interesting for like 5-6 seconds before it just turns into a mound like any old timer. The video shows about how long you can expect interesting shapes before cutting away. (And in fact, is a little more generous than the one I have.)


Hm, I wonder if you could cheat with this by putting a stronger or weaker magnet under there and thus manipulate the timing…


Ferromagnetic Time.


One that goes the ‘wrong way’ would be cooler.
It would have to be smaller with a powerful electromagnet on top tho.


And while you’re looking at the patterns… I just won Boggle.

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